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How rude!

March 18, 2011

What the Experts Say…

“Politeness is both a character trait and social skill; it is acquired through identification with, and imitation of parents who are themselves polite. Under all conditions, politeness must be taught politely. Yet parents frequently teach it rudely.” (Haim Ginott, Child Psychologist, in his book, Between Parent and Child, p. 73)

In Other Words…

The phrase “actions speak louder than words” is especially true with children. They are much more likely to do what they see instead of what they are told. If we want our children to be polite, then they must see us acting politely, not only to others, but also to the children themselves.

How This Applies to You…

If a child interrupts an adult conversation, it does not help to interrupt the interrupter. Simply tell the child that it is currently your turn to talk and they can have a turn as soon as you are finished. By making sure to provide the child an opportunity to talk as soon as you have finished what you are saying, you build trust and credibility with the child. If they know you are aware of them and glad to hear from them, they will be more willing to wait their turn in the future.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and if your children are younger than six, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott or Soft-Spoken Parenting by H. Wallace Goddard.

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